Filing your own taxes can have its complications. Even if you know all of your financial information, you may still struggle to know the right way to file. Therefore, when you find yourself in charge of handling the taxes of a recently deceased loved one, you may have even more concerns about the proper steps to take.
In order to complete this endeavor, you will need to have the right information and fill out the correct forms, just as you would with your own return. Of course, since you are dealing with someone else's information and with the fact that the individual has died, you could face more complexities than you would with just filing your own personal tax return.
When to file
If your loved one died after the most recent tax season, you may wonder whether you should attempt to file his or her final return right away. However, this step does not take place until the following tax season. Just as your next return will be due on or before April 15 (or the otherwise indicated deadline date for the filing year), the deceased's return will also be due. No special forms are used to file the final return of the decedent. You will simply write "deceased" on the filing form.
What to report
When it comes to reporting the income of the deceased, you may have many questions. Typically, you will only need to report the income earned between the beginning of the filing year and the date of the individual's death. However, you may need to take certain types of earnings and income into consideration, such as the following:
- Income in respect to the decedent: This type of income refers to funds that the deceased earned or was entitled to at the time of death but had not yet received. You do not include it on the final return.
- After-death earnings: A deceased individual could have savings accounts or investments that continue to accrue earnings after his or her death. In these cases, those earnings do not go on the final tax return.
Because knowing what to report on a tax return can prove complicated, having the right documents could help keep income and other earnings in order.
Who can help
Whether you have recently become a widow or widower or are otherwise acting as executor of the estate, filing the final tax return for a recently deceased loved one can seem overwhelming. Fortunately, you do not have to work through these issues on your own. A knowledgeable California attorney could help you better understand how to deal with these tax-related issues.